At the Inauguration of the Academic Year, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome (October 3, 2017)

The Gospel we have just heard announces a promise of our Lord that gives full security to the Church on her journey through history: "These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you" (Jn


At the beginning of the academic year, it greatly helps us to hear again these words of Jesus. They tell us that the Holy Spirit is the Teacher of our souls, a Teacher who gives us constant lessons to attain an ever deeper knowledge of the mystery of Christ.

Let us therefore invoke the Paraclete for light in our study of the sacred sciences, so that this knowledge will sink in deeply and touch our hearts.

By drawing close to the Holy Spirit, his illuminations will allow us to contemplate with amazement the depths of the mysteries of faith, and his fire will enkindle in our hearts sincere desires to be closely united with our Lord and to communicate his love to many souls.

All of you, professors and students, will have to dedicate long hours to your studies. Go to the Holy Spirit as the true Teacher, the only one able to lead us to a full understanding of Jesus’ teachings. Our Lord himself tells us: When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth (Jn 16:13). Jesus does not promise just any truth, but the complete truth: the truth that sustains the world, that guides our aspirations and strengthens human relationships, imbuing them with justice and charity.

The truth leads us to authentic freedom, as Jesus himself said: "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (Jn 8:31-32). How much we need to meditate on these words of our Lord! Especially when we are immersed in a culture that recognizes the great value of freedom, but so often does not find a way to achieve it, above all the inner freedom that is, in the end, the ability to love.

To deepen in your knowledge of the mysteries of the faith you need to study, but that is not enough: prayer is also needed. In dialogue with God, he himself leads us into the luminosity of his triune being and into his salvific plans. With the light of the Holy Spirit, we internalize theological knowledge so that it is no longer just a sum of notions and concepts, but is transformed into knowledge imbued with love, that is, into wisdom. And we will discover the loving invitations addressed to us by the Lord to lead us to "the glorious freedom of the children of God" (Rom 8:21). As a result, we will be able to understand a bit better the depth of God’s love for us and, with great joy, risk our freedom on his salvific plans.

This is the wisdom we want to ask the Holy Spirit for today, as we prepare to begin a new academic year. As St. Josemaría reminded us, this divine gift opens us to the world: “Among the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I would say that there is one which we all need in a special way: the gift of wisdom. It makes us know God and rejoice in his presence, thereby placing us in a perspective from which we can judge accurately the situations and events of this life” (Christ Is Passing By, no. 133). The hope of being able to share this divine gift with so many people is another reason to put great care into our prayer and our study. The Holy Spirit makes us sharers in his sanctifying action, and enables us to be, as Pope Francis says, “sowers of hope, to be, we too —like him and thanks to him— ‘paracletes,’ that is, comforters and protectors of our brethren, sowers of hope” (General Audience, May 31, 2017).

We entrust our resolutions to be docile to the Holy Spirit to the motherly mediation of our Lady, Sedes Sapientiae. The Virgin Mary, Throne of Grace and Wisdom, will help us to welcome Jesus, incarnate Wisdom, with ever increasing intensity into our lives.

So be it.

Romana, n. 65, July-December 2017, p. 271-273.

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